Here's my first classical build. I started messing about with steel string guitars years ago, playing and repairing, and started building them in 2005. Classical pieces started to grow on me a few years ago, and I thought, "Someday I'll build a classical guitar and learn to play it." Part of that someday is here, in a break between commissions for my steel strings; learning to play it is still off in the future, but it looks like there are some great resources here for that. I still think I'll need a teacher to cure me of the bad habits I picked up playing fingerstyle.
I looked around, read some books, especially the one on Torres by Romanillos, then found a plan of SE114 (owned by Tarrega, as you all probably know) drawn by Jeff Elliott, a builder of some renown, following his extensive restoration of that icon. I have no delusions that I can do it any justice, except maybe cosmetically, and even that's arguable.
So, I'm starting from scratch, building a solera and other jigs. It's East Indian rosewood back, sides and binding, Lutz top, ebony fretboard, mahogany neck, Brazilian rosewood bridge, Gotoh tuners. Finish will be French polished Royal Lac.
Here's the topographic map that appeared when I dished the solera. It's not made to accurately fit the dome; the top bracing was glued in a separate dish with a 15 ft radius. It yielded a 2mm dome per Elliott's plan. The dished solera is just to proved clearance. I added slots for brackets to hold the sides.
Here's some of the wood used. I ended up with a different neck. It's stacked rather than the solid heel block shown here.
Here's the top getting joined in the torture rack.
I used an off-the-shelf rosette for this one. Considering the time required, the price made it a no-brainer.
I had to force it a bit since the rosette didn't match the soundhole diameter as I would have liked. The gap ended up a little off-center, but no worries as it will be under the fretboard. The plan calls for a thin top, alarmingly so for a steel string builder!
Fan bracing. Support from the topmost harmonic bar, omitted here, will come from an extension of the neck block that will support the fretboard under the body. This is the one structural deviation from the plan.
That's all for now. I have a buddy from our local luthiers' group coming by for some advice. Hope I don't steer him wrong!
'Til next time.
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